From Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home


I confess to a love-hate relationship with roasted chicken: Love to eat it, hate to make it, because some recipes that promised “the best roast chicken you’ll ever eat” gave me only grievance instead.   Here are two examples.  One famous recipe calls for blasting the bird in a 500F  oven, which made an unbelievable mess, set off every smoke alarm in the house, and left a lingering smell of roast chicken for days.   I also fell for a recipe that insisted the best way to roast a chicken is to first sear it in a frying pan, and then move  it into a hot oven.  That method resulted in both the stove AND the oven covered in oily splatter.  I dealt with it in the hope of  “… the best ever“, but… it wasn’t.

Every recipe in Keller’s book makes me want to jump to the kitchen to start working on it, so I couldn’t resist his take on roast chicken.   I’m glad that I didn’t, it was simple to prepare and finished with a happy ending.  This recipe is a full  meal in itself:  you’ll have a nice roast chicken, crispy and moist, with a bonus side dish accompanying it.  It was satisfying home-cooking at its best.

(para receita em portugues, clique aqui)

(adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc)

1 whole chicken, preferably organic (4 – 4.5 pounds)
2 cloves garlic, mashed
fresh thyme sprigs
salt and pepper
3 rutabagas
2 turnips
6 carrots
12 small yellow or red new potatoes
1/3  cup canola oil
4 T butter at room temperature or 2 T duck fat
1/2 lemon

If you are particularly fond of crispy skin, leave the bird uncovered  in the fridge for a couple of days.  Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 1.5 hours before roasting (important step, don’t skip it).

Heat the oven to 475F.

Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper, add the garlic, 4 thyme sprigs, and the lemon half in the cavity.  For a nicer presentation, truss the chicken (see how to do it here, but you may omit this step if you prefer – read my comments).

Cut the rutabagas and turnips in similar sized pieces, about 3/4 inch wedges. Cut the carrots in half crosswise and again lengthwise. Keep the young potatoes whole, or, if they are a bit too big cut them in half.  Place all veggies in a large bowl, add  1/4 cup of canola oil,  2-3 thyme sprigs, salt, pepper, and toss well.  Transfer them to a roasting pan, make a small space in the center to place the chicken.  Rub the remaining canola oil all over the skin of the chicken, seasoning it again with salt and pepper.

Just before roasting, add pats of butter over the breast, or brush with some duck fat (it gives a deeper flavor to the chicken,).

Roast at 475F for 25 minutes, lower the temperature to 400F and roast for 1 hour, but check the internal temperature after 45 minutes, if it reaches 160F remove the chicken from the oven.  Allow the chicken to rest under an aluminum foil tent for 20 minutes before carving.

A few minutes before serving, place the roasting dish on the stove and heat the vegetables, moving them around to coat with the juices accumulated during roasting.


to print the recipe, click here

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